French Election 2024 Live: Results Show No Party Won an Absolute Majority

France could be heading for a prolonged political deadlock after no party or coalition of parties won an absolute majority of seats in parliament, according to French pollsters based on preliminary results.

Experts say the path forward remains unclear, but the country is likely to experience months of political turmoil, as President Emmanuel Macron faces a deeply divided parliament, including two blocs that are staunchly opposed to him.

“Without an absolute majority, the government would be at the mercy of opposition parties banding together” to overthrow the government, said Dominique Rousseau, professor emeritus of public law at Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

Forecasts show the National Assembly, France’s lower house, will be divided into three main blocs with conflicting agendas and, in some cases, deep hostility towards each other.

Pollsters’ projections released Sunday evening after the final round of legislative elections showed a group of left-wing parties called the New Popular Front would win the most seats, followed by Mr Macron’s centrist alliance and the nationalist, anti-immigration National Party. It was unclear whether the centrist or right-wing National Party would be the second-largest bloc.

At present, none of the three main blocs appear to be able to work together. Each could try to form a working majority with a handful of smaller parties or independents holding the remaining seats in the lower house. But their ability to do so is uncertain.

“French political culture is not conducive to compromise,” said Samy Benzina, a professor of public law at the University of Poitiers, noting that French institutions are often designed to create “clear majorities that can govern themselves.”

A scenario where no party wins an absolute majority – at least 289 of the 577 seats in the lower house – is not unprecedented in France. That’s exactly what happened in the most recent legislative elections, in 2022.Mr Macron has still managed to form effective governments and has successfully passed bills over the past two years.

But that only happened because Mr Macron’s centrist coalition was large enough — with about 250 seats — and his opposition parties were too divided to pose a permanent threat. When it wasn’t, Mr Macron’s government was almost fell.

This time around, Mr Macron’s options appear much more limited.

His centrist coalition cannot govern on its own. And a handful of smaller parties — even more moderate ones on the left or right — want to align with Mr Macron, who is deeply unpopular and has three years left in his term.

The National Rally has said it will only govern if it has an absolute majority, or if it falls just short and thinks it can reach an agreement with enough other lawmakers to close the gap. Marine Le Pen, the party’s long-time leader, told French radio last week that the party would not agree to “just sitting in a ministerial chair and not doing anything”, saying it would be “the worst betrayal” of its voters.

On Sunday, a leader of one of the left-wing New Popular Front parties, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, said he would not enter into talks with Mr Macron’s coalition to form a government together.

Some analysts and politicians have suggested the possibility of a broad, “rainbow” coalition of lawmakers, agreeing on a limited number of key issues and stretching from the Greens to more moderate conservatives. But some political leaders have ruled that out.

Another possibility is a provisional government of politically neutral experts who would handle day-to-day affairs until a political breakthrough. This would also be a change from French tradition.

France has a strong civil service that can run without a government for a while. But the Summer Olympics are just weeks away, and parliament typically approves the budget in the fall. Some analysts believe Mr Macron’s position will become so untenable that he will have to resign, but he has said he will not.


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